NotComics: Earlier this week, the political blog I cartoon for, Guido Fawkes, leaked the following letter from James Mellor, News Editor of British Sunday newspaper The Mail On Sunday – that was rather short with its staff.
The quality and quantity of stories provided by the News department this week was unacceptable and frankly embarrassing. By my count, there were just five self-generated exclusives from News in the entire paper. With a couple of exceptions, we let ourselves down. I have apologised to the Editor for our lack of contribution.
To fill the paper, we were reduced to effectively cutting and pasting stories from Mail Online. Despite the desperate need for new material, one of you found time yesterday to file an expenses claim. Others decided to head home before the gaps were filled. They might consider apologising to their colleagues who at least had the decency to stay and help fill the paper. The News department has been crucial in making The Mail on Sunday the biggest selling Sunday newspaper — but we failed this week and have not been firing on all cylinders for some time. This needs to change.
With immediate effect, everyone — without exception — is required to send an email detailing their stories and ideas for the week ahead to me, Ronan and Jane by 10am each Tuesday at the latest. If you have no ideas or stories to offer, you should send an email stating that — and be seriously asking yourself why. Expect to be chased by the desk if you haven't sent a note or at least called and spoken to one of us. I also want at least one properly fleshed out idea for an investigation from each of you by Tuesday, October 20. I don't want a nebulous concept, but a thoughtful, researched proposal. Again, send that to me, Ronan and Jane.
As well as genuine scoops, we need more light and shade on the News List -glamourous, quirky and consumer stories featuring famous people as well as gritty stories. Copy needs to be well-written, accurate and filed earlier to prevent a logjam on Saturday. If your stories aren't making, it's because the Editor doesn't rate them, so you need to find ones that he does. We failed badly to meet our usual high standards this week. Let's ensure that it does not happen again.
Ouch. Well, it is quite possible that they listened. Going up on the MailOnline site tonight from The Mail On Sunday is a leaked e-mail of their own, from a chief of the British National Health Service. With the headlines bulletpointed below:
- At last! NHS workers are 'set to get a vaccine in weeks' as the Government accelerates timetable for a mass roll-out before Christmas – while ministers introduce new laws to bypass EU approval for jab
- Email sent by an NHS Trust chief to his staff, seen by The Mail on Sunday, reveals Health Service is preparing for a national vaccination programme before Christmas
- In memo to staff earlier this month, Glen Burley, chief executive of George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust, in Warwickshire, wrote: 'Our Trust, alongside NHS organisations nationally, has been told to be prepared to start a Covid-19 staff vaccine programme in early December'
- It can also be disclosed that the Government has introduced new laws that would allow UK to bypass EU approval process if safe and effective jab is ready before end of post-Brexit transition period on December 31
This is the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine, to be delivered in two doses, which has reported provoking a strong immune response in trials. In the leaked memo, NHS staff have been told to ensure they have had their flu shot by the end of November so they can qualify for a Covid-19 jab. Thought we could all do with a bit of good news.
Anyway, the authors of the article, Michael Powell and Glen Owen, should be safe from James Mellor's wrath for now… Nick Craven and Jake Ryan should survive as well with their photos of Carrie Symonds from when she was 21 as well.